Spring not only signifies flowers and sunshine, it also marks the end of the college application process, and the start of a new chapter for high school graduates. Once summer ends, over twenty million students will start their first day of higher education. Each experience is different and unique, but some factors can influence how easily the process goes.
Gaining acceptance to a university relies on varying elements, and residency seems to be a growing influencer. California high school students in particular are finding that their local, public universities are farther out of reach than in years past. State funding cuts have driven many universities to increase their nonresident acceptances to make up for the income gap.
During a ten-year funding cut that totaled $152 million, the University of California at Los Angeles decreased California resident enrollment from 94% to 73%. UC-Berkeley has seen a similar decrease in in-state enrollment, grabbing the attention of Berkeley alumni, Governor Jerry Brown.
A state audit in 2016 uncovered overly relaxed admission requirements for out of state students, which resulted in 16,000 acceptances that fell below the median test scores and grade point averages. Multiple UCs are ranked nationally, unfairly giving a disadvantage to California residents who have higher standards for acceptance. Gov. Brown proposed capping out-of-state acceptances at 20% to benefit residents and increase college enrollment rates.
UC Spokeswoman, Dianne Klein said, “The policy is very clear: Nonresident students will be in addition to and not in place of California residents.”
The proposal was met with backlash from the UC system, who conveyed a need for out-of-state tuition, which benefits residents as well as nonresidents.
UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said, “Financially it made a huge difference,” Block said. “We could not have managed these graduation rates without having the additional resources.”
The financial and social additions that out-of-state students bring ultimately benefit universities, but residency shouldn’t heighten or lower your admission requirements. The proposal is still up for debate, but may be implemented at the end of 2017.